FHR Contribution to the European Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Radar Demonstrator Programme

Conference: EUSAR 2012 - 9th European Conference on Synthetic Aperture Radar
04/23/2012 - 04/26/2012 at Nuremberg, Germany

Proceedings: EUSAR 2012

Pages: 4Language: englishTyp: PDF

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Wilden, Helmut; Kirchner, Claus; Brenner, Andreas R.; Ender, Joachim H. G. (Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques FHR, Neuenahrer Str. 20, D-53343 Wachtberg, Germany)

Due to the increasing strategic importance of space for surveillance and communication the European Space Agency (ESA) launched a multinational programme contract in 2008 with the aim to analyze and monitor the main activities and risks in space. The ESSAS agreement SSA Preparatory Programme enfolded four main areas: space surveillance, space weather, space debris and assessment of asteroids. One specific part among the multisensor suite for space surveillance will be the observation of the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) by means of ground based phased array radars which in combination with tracking radars will be able to provide an efficient visibility on the LEO object traffic and which is called SSA phased array radar. Based on the performance specifications of the final SSA phased array radar, ESA contracted an experimental preparatory programme leading to the development and operation of a radar demonstrator. Besides analyzing adequate system concepts, the design goals of this technology demonstrator are optimization of the core hardware components of the phased array radar with full scalability to the final radar system. The contract was awarded to the Spanish firm INDRA Espacio S.A. which subcontracted the design and development of the radar receive system to Fraunhofer FHR. The development of the key subcomponents building the demonstrator’s receive system is based on state-of-the-art phased array technology using software defined radio principles and digitizing the RF on element level.